November comes to Scotland like a pause for breath before the winter. The hills are quieter, and there is a freshness to breezes that carry the first flakes of snow. The nights are drawing in in earnest, and communities gather around for the cold season to come, but there is still magic in the air.
It’s a chance to witness stark beauty rarely seen in the haste of daily life.
Scotland’s hilltops never look more handsome than with a gentle dusting of snow atop them, and the sun yet shines despite cooler temperatures. It is a time for the high places and early mornings. It is a time to go slowly and appreciate the grandeur of the glens as winter hush begins to fall. Wrap up warm, join us by the fire, as we tell tales of November in Scotland.
“The south wall warms me: November has begun,
Yet never shone the sun as fair as now
While the sweet last-left damsons from the bough
With spangles of the morning’s storm drop down
Because the starling shakes it, whistling what
Once swallows sang …”
The last of autumn flows into the cusp of winter during November in Scotland. To the north the trees have shed their summer cloaks and fall regalia. Here the trees look like some form of abstract artform. There is the promise of life, the idea of a forest told in fluttering branches. It is a handsome landscape which one feels they must step through gently.
Further south, autumn is running its course, and soon these trees will follow. For now though, they celebrate with firework displays of red and orange canopies. Perthshire feels like a festival of light, and the Enchanted Forest is one of the spectacles of the season. It is easy to get lost gazing at handsome oaks indulging the last of their colour and the elm leaves tumbling to earth until spring.
There is nostalgia in the air, and we like to indulge some of our favourite spots while we can. From The Hermitage in Perthshire to Mugdock Country Park, it is a delight to see the last of nature’s brightness in the trees. A few final pictures and a farewell before spring brings us back together again. It’s the perfect time for forest bathing and appreciating all that nature has to offer.
Dumfries and Galloway has long attracted artists, dreamers and stargazers. Galloway Forest has even been recognised as an international dark skies park. The stars are almost as vivid as they get anywhere in the world here, and November is perfect to view them. By this time of year, the sun is setting early and there are few visitors to the area. It means that locals and only the truly clued in make the journey out into the darkness.
Here, they’re the audience of one of the greatest visual spectacles mankind has ever witnessed.
It is a unique and beautiful thing to see the arms of the Milky Way while huddled under a cozy blanket. A warm drink and good company to marvel at the universe complete the moment. November is one of the best months to view such wonders as it’s not yet too cold and the nights stretch long. With so much of the Highlands perfect for star gazing it’s a perfect way to round off a day hiking. You might even be lucky and see the Northern Lights in all their ephemeral majesty.
In the autumn there is something about rising with or before the dawn to face the day outdoors. There’s a chill in the air, a crispness to everything that you do, and dew coats the ground. Spiderwebs may carry a touch of frost, and you need to get going quickly to catch that sunrise and warm up.
Pushing out onto the hill, overcoming ourselves and warming up as we exercise, November in Scotland is perfect for adventure. It’s not too warm, so you can really push yourself, and there’s less likely to be a hard rain than in December. Climbing to higher altitudes, flurries of snow cascade past picturesquely, and you can really feel the grandeur of the mountains in such conditions. You might even catch a cloud inversion if you’re very lucky on a cool morning.
At lower levels the winds have yet to pick up and there’s space for some excellent cycling. Add in the last leaves of the season carried on the breeze and there are wonderful memories to be crafted. There’s also the added benefit of warm fires in many a hearth and an expectation of coziness everywhere you look after a brisk day outside. It makes for a complete experience which is difficult to match despite its simple charm.
From hilltops to highstreets, Scotland is quieter as you explore it in November. The kids are at school and most locals take their time off during the summer months. Additionally there are fewer international visitors throughout the country. You can take your time wherever you venture and you can spend a day in the hills seeing nary a soul.
If you need a bit of peace and quiet to recover after a busy summer, Scotland in November is the place to be. Many cultural institutions are still vibrantly open, albeit on a reduced schedule for the season. That means fewer crowds in castles and less of a wait in museums. Stirling Castle takes on a special grandeur with a touch of frost to it, and the National Galleries are best viewed in a hush.
To the north, you’ll find reduced traffic and windswept views which will leave you in awe. There are also autumnal celebrations springing up before the dark of winter fully comes. Christmas markets allow you a little bit of seasonal cheer and sweet treats not easily forgotten.
It’s a time to enjoy some of the best that Scotland has to offer, and the little bit of ease you deserve.
Spring weather is mild, but the days are lengthening and consistently drier. The landscape is buzzing with life and colour, with flowers blooming and bustling wildlife.Find out more
Summer promises long days, pleasant temperatures, and festivals galore. The countryside transitions from vibrant green to breath-taking purple as the heather blooms.Find out more
Autumn is a time of colourful landscapes and glowing skies. Witness some of Scotland’s most exciting wildlife spectacles and taste flavours unique to our autumn months.Find out more
If the conditions are right, Scottish winters are the epitome of ‘winter wonderland’. Crunchy snow underneath your boots, sparkly fields, and the most beautiful night skies.Find out more
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